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Us (Him) (Volume 2) Paperback – March 8, 2016
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Garth Brooks: The Anthology Part 1 | Limited Edition
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About the Author
Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty contemporary romance from Vermont's Green Mountains. (Her ancestors began logging and farming Vermont during the 18th century. These were rugged, outdoor types without benefit of a laptop or a good latte. It boggles the mind.) Sarina enjoys skiing, skating and good food. She lives in Windsor County, Vermont, with her family, eight chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment. You can visit her at www.sarinabowen.com to sign up for her newsletter. Or follow her on Twitter @SarinaBowen. A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a BA in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting! Elle loves to hear from her readers. Visit her website www.ellekennedy.com or sign up for her newsletter to receive updates about upcoming books and exclusive excerpts. You can also find her on Facebook (AuthorElleKennedy) or follow her on Twitter (@ElleKennedy).
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Wes is having a great year as a rookie in the NHL and Jamie is along for the ride, coaching a young adult/youth league in Toronto so they can be together. They’re together, but things are still hidden. Because of how well Wes’s year is going, coming out and having a huge media thing isn’t what he wants. So for now, it’s staying quiet. And that’s not easy on Jamie.
There was a little bit of drama and conflict in this book, but I never once doubted the love that my boys had for each other. I love the two of them and their relationship. I love the emotion, the steam, and the way they are friends first. Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen really shine when writing together. Their styles compliment one another. I’ve adored both books in this series. And the audio. OMG I said it in my Him review, but it stands to be repeated- the audio for these books is INCREDIBLE! The narrator for Wes (Jacob Morgan) is everything! I love his narration for Wes. It’s just so great! This series is one you don’t want to miss out on! I’m so happy I made the time to listen.
I read "Him" back in 2015 when it was released and I LOVED IT!! I bought this when it came out but just hadn't gotten around to reading it. I decided had several freebies from over the months on my Kindle app and several books that I bought. I wanted to get my TBR down and this happened to be the one that I randomly chose. But I wanted to read "Him" again so everything could be fresh on my mind. Here's the thing: You probably could only read "Him" and call it a standalone. But you REALLY need to read "Us." So this book picks up several months after the previous book left off. Things are going well for Wes and Jamie. They have a great romance, they're living together, and their jobs are going pretty well. But they've kind of gotten out of their honeymoon phase from beginning to date. Wes can't come out and tell the world that Jamie is his boyfriend because of potential consequences from the media, etc. It really does take a toll on their relationship because they have to be secretive ALL THE TIME. They can't go see a movie as a couple. They can't go on a date to a restaurant as a couple. It really upsets them. They're not mad at each other. They're just scared of how this could impact Wes' career since it's just starting to take off. One thing I absolutely love about this book is that Wes and Jamie are together THIS ENTIRE BOOK. There isn't a breakup. They are able to make it and solve unexpected problems. In this book, Jamie gets sick and it's bad. He has to go to the hospital several times. Their relationship is really strained but the second time he has to go to the hospital and it gets so bad to where he collapses at work and is in a coma, Wes drops everything and GOES TO HIM LIKE A LOVED ONE SHOULD ALWAYS DO. At the hospital, he kisses Jamie on the lips while he is still in a coma and then their relationship is exposed to the world. This creates more problems. Jamie feels like Wes is taking care of him all the time and doesn't want to be a burden. He also gets upset when Wes wants to pay his hospital bills. I understand that Jamie wants to be independent but I also completely understand how much this hurts Wes. As we found out in the previous book, Wes has loved Jamie for several years while Jamie just began having feelings about a year ago. So, in my opinion, Wes seems to care more deeply for Jamie. Not that Jamie doesn't care for him as much. It's just that Wes has felt that love for Jamie for a longer time. With Jamie trying to recover and Wes still having to go on the road to play hockey, Jamie ends up flying home to California to see his family and they are able to care for him. This hurts Wes deeply as he wants to be the one to care for Jamie but he understands that he can't because of his hockey contract. As Wes goes on a high-profile interview to talk about his career and relationship with Jamie, he reveals that he would marry Jamie if he could. He loves him that much. Back in California, Jamie reluctantly sees the interview on TV after being persuaded by his mom. Also, his mom is one of the best moms/parents I've ever read. Her and the Weasley parents from Harry Potter are the best parents I've ever read. Wes calls her "Mom" and honestly it's the cutest thing! When Jamie watches the interview, he is overcome with emotion and flies to see Wes at his current game (I want to remember where this is but honestly I don't know what city it was because there was too much emotion!!!!!). After the hockey game, Jamie surprises Wes in his hotel room and proposes and it's the best. It's filled with who they are as individuals and as a couple. I understand that so many romance books have a proposal in the last chapter or the epilogue but this was the best. I know that since this was a duology that there was more time to discover the relationship but it just seems that in so many romance books today, that it's all about the couples getting to know each other and they aren't really together until the end of the book. They usually are boyfriend-girlfriend, etc. at the end or they're engaged. But I'm so happy that this book was about their relationship and it was also SO REALISTIC!! It wasn't happy all the time but they communicated and were able to work things out without having over-the-top drama. I'm utterly and completely devastated that this duology is over and don't know how I will go on after this.
Also, regarding Blake and his book. So like I said before, I bought this book when it had come out but hadn't read it until just a few days ago. Blake's book came out at the end of January and I had already bought it even though I hadn't EVEN READ THIS BOOK YET WHICH HAPPENS BEFORE BLAKE'S BOOK!!!! That is how much impact "Him" had on me. All I knew is that Blake's book was written by both authors and that Wes and Jamie would be in it. That's enough for me and I will 100% buy any book these authors write together. Also if they write something separately i will buy it, providing that it's M/M because I read Ms. Kennedy's "The Deal" and "The Mistake" and enjoyed them but didn't love them like these books. Also, I watched a few hockey games and I have never watched hockey before....so that is another example of how much these books have impacted me. Regarding Blake, I loathed him at first because he interfered with my Wes-Jamie time but I quickly adored him and how much he cares for these two guys!!!!
I heard a few months ago that we may be getting another M/M book in this world but it may center around Killfeather from the last book????? That would be THE BEST. Anxiously awaiting that news but I'm going to dive straight into Blake's book at work next week!!!!
So, when I learned that there would be a sequel, I was excited and a little hesitant. I wanted to spend more time with Wes and Jamie, but I was worried about whether it could live up to the wonderful Him. While Us didn't grab me as tightly as its prequel, I still found it to be entertaining and emotional. The authors do a great job of helping readers remember why we fell in love with Wes and Jamie in the first place and showed that getting that happy ending takes work.
Us focuses on Wes and Jamie's lives in Toronto after college. Wes is in his rookie year as a professional hockey player while Jamie is a youth hockey coach. Due to Wes's position as a newbie to the league, it was decided that they would keep their relationship a secret from the public for just one year. Unfortunately, complications arise during this time that force them both to re-evaluate their situation and whether their romance can withstand it.
I really liked the way that the story focused evenly on Wes and Jamie's problems. Wes is dealing with having a public persona that doesn't completely match his true self though he would like it to. He hates keeping Jamie a secret, can't wait to tell people the truth, but is also worried about how people will react. This situation is not helped when one of his teammates moves into the same building and decides that he will be Wes and Jamie's constant companion. On the other side, Jamie is dealing with the fact that his new coaching position isn't the dream he thought it would be. His team is struggling and he begins to wonder if he is the reason. It also doesn't help that one of his colleagues has a tendency to spout off hateful, homophobic remarks at the drop of a hat.
Even though Wes's issues are the more public, I felt like the authors made sure not to lessen the impact of Jamie's situation. These are two strong-willed people who are trying to figure out how to make a life together while still retaining their independence. Their relationship goes through major tests in this story and they both feel guilty about it. There are communication issues and, while that usually annoys me in romance, I understood the purpose here. Each of them is going through stuff and they don't want to make that a big deal so they just go through life trying to pretend everything is okay.
I don't want to say much more about Us to avoid spoilers, but I do want to emphasize how much I enjoyed reading it. The characterization of Wes and Jamie was consistent with how they were depicted in the prequel and I felt like I learned even more about them. I admired how much they care for one another and there are many scenes that showcase that even amid all the chaos. I really hope Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy will continue writing in this world because I would love for more about these guys as well as Wes's annoying, but well-meaning teammate Blake.
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